Back to SITA ATI Messaging Journal Q1 2009

Aviation Information Data Exchange (AIDX)

For improved data exchange between airlines and airports

SITA is playing an important and active community role in the implementation of Airport Information Data Exchange (AIDX).

There is a common requirement for airlines to send updated flight information messages to airports in real time for flights in the current operational window - up to 48 hours in advance of the flight and up to 24 hours after its arrival.

This information - such as flight times, resources used by the flight and flight status - is typically required by airports for multiple purposes; including real time updates to various systems such as Flight Information Display Systems (FIDS) and Resource Management Systems (RMS).

Historically, even though standard Type B messaging was being used, the information was nonetheless sent using proprietary message structures - which meant that each airport had to implement different protocols for each separate airline link. Airlines also had to implement and maintain different interfaces for different airports.

In 2003, three airlines, two airports and three IT providers met in Seattle to discuss the development of a multi-purpose format for delivering airline-airport data which could be built on open architecture to industry standards linked for the broadest benefit of air transport stakeholders.

By 2006, there were ten airlines, eleven airports and six IT providers involved in the project to develop AIDX standards and recommended practice.


The AIDX XML schema has now been approved by IATA, ATA and ACI, and the messaging exchange standard will be published within the coming months, with updates expected in the first half of 2009. Multiple locations are running 'proof of concept' trials, and AIDX has been incorporated into CUPPS (Common Use Passenger Processing System) with the intention of increasing acceptance and deployment, pending AIDX being adopted as a global standard.

AIDX aims to deliver a number of concrete benefits, including reduced support costs for airlines and airports; improved message deliverability, reliability and stability; and an open web-based architecture offering easy migration to new technology.

While AIDX is centred around flight information, the message schema is not limited to airline-to-airport messages. It could also be used as the basis for other flight information distribution requirements, such as from an Airport Operational Database (AODB) to airport systems (such as FIDS, BHS etc).

SITA already delivers Type B and Type X message exchange services to the industry as a whole, and an increasing number of airport requests for proposals specify that systems must be able to interface with SITA's Messaging service.

SITA is therefore ideally placed to reduce the number of interfaces and the number of connections needed - acting as the hub between multiple airlines on one side and multiple airports on the other, and is in the process of defining an AIDX message switching service offering based on our Type B and Type X messaging services.

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